Students in the Physician Assistant Program at Penn State College of Medicine take part in the White Coat Ceremony in 2016, during which the students receive their white coats signifying the start of their training. Three female students are seen in the foreground, reading from the event program, with a male and female student visible in the background.

Physician Assistant (PA) Program

How Do I Apply to the PA Program?

Penn State College of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program uses Central Application Service for Physician Assistants (CASPA) and adheres to CASPA's Admissions Code of Conduct.

Before beginning your CASPA application, please review the program admissions requirements. All verified CASPA applicants will receive, and must submit, a Penn State Physician Assistant secondary application to receive full admissions consideration. There is no application fee to complete your PSU PA secondary application.

2020-21 Interview Cycle Changes (COVID-19)

Due to COVID-19, the 2020-2021 interview cycle will look different than in previous years. In line with all educational programs housed at the College of Medicine, all candidate interviews will be conducted virtually during this admissions cycle.

This decision was made foremost for the safety of all involved parties and in order to limit undue risk. We are confident that what has been developed for this year's interview experience will enable you to experience the Penn State PA Program virtually to the best extent possible while also giving you ample opportunity to share who you are with us.

Our admissions committee will learn a great deal from you before a request to interview is offered based on all aspects of your CASPA and secondary applications. Our faculty take great pride in reading and reviewing each candidate's file prior to interviewing.

While we know this year's interview experience will undoubtedly be unique, our goal is to provide a seamless and safe experience from your current location.

What are the Application Requirements?

A number of prerequisites apply to students seeking to join the PA Program. Be sure to read the detailed prerequisites before beginning your application.

CASPA applications must include the following items to be eligible for consideration. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Applicants must also agree to abide by the CASPA Professional Code of Conduct and the CASPA Admissions Code of Cooperation.

Penn State's Physician Assistant Program has not adopted the PA-CAT as an admission requirement. All applicants are required to submit results of the GRE general exam.

Secondary Applications

Penn State requires each applicant to submit a secondary application to receive full consideration by the admissions committee. The secondary application primarily consists of short essay responses.

All CASPA-verified applicants will receive the request to complete the secondary application. You’ll receive this request via email. There is no application fee to submit the secondary application.

Preference Factors

In accordance with the PA Program's mission and goals, special consideration for admission is given to applicants who are veterans, who are from underrepresented populations or who are from economically or educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.

Additionally, special consideration for admission is given to those applicants who have graduated from or will be graduating from Penn State University.

Early Assurance

The Penn State PA Program has early assurance programs with the following institutions:

  • Franklin and Marshall College
  • Hampton University
  • Lebanon Valley College
  • Lincoln University

Students at these institutions should speak directly with their pre-med pre-health adviser to discuss requirements and eligibility. The Early Assurance program allows students to apply to the PA Program during the junior year of undergraduate. Early Assurance applicants have the opportunity to be granted admission at the completion of the Early Assurance process, forgoing the entire CASPA application process as a senior. Information regarding this program is available on request.

Key Dates

  • Dec. 18: Date by which you are strongly encouraged to complete your CASPA application, which allows sufficient time for CASPA processing.
  • Jan. 15: Firm deadline by which your primary application must be CASPA-verified to be considered for a May start in the program
  • Jan. 30: Firm deadline by which your secondary application must be completed.
  • End of May: Start of two-year PA Program.

Standardized Testing Requirements

We require completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to our PA Program.

Alternately, if you have previously tested on any exam listed, you may provide these scores in lieu of completing the GRE:

  • MCAT total score of at least 29 or higher (old version) or 505 (new version)
  • PCAT total score 75th percentile rank or higher
  • DAT total score of 18 or higher

Penn State's PA Program GRE Code is 0900. Official GRE scores are uploaded directly to CASPA.

If it has been more than five years since you took the GRE, and the Educational Testing Service no longer has record of your score, we will accept a student copy of your GRE results. You must upload this document into the CASPA-Penn State Program Materials-Document tab. If you no longer have a student copy, you will need to retake the GRE.

International students for whom English is not the native language must also submit TOEFL/IELTS scores with their application. The Penn State University School Code is 2660. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have received a baccalaureate or graduate degree in one of the following countries: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (excluding Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States or Wales.

Minimum acceptable scores for the TOEFL are 550 (paper-based), 213 (computer-based) or 80 (internet-based, with at least a 19 on speaking section). The IELTS exam minimum accepted composite score is 6.5.

Interview

We will invite the most qualified applicants to the Penn State College of Medicine campus in Hershey, Pa., for an in-person interview so we can get to know you better, and you can learn more about our Physician Assistant Program. Penn State hosts more than 20 interview days throughout the entire admissions cycle.

The Candidate Interview Day consists of the following activities:

  • Faculty one-on-one interviews
  • Real (not standardized) patient interview
  • Timed writing sample
  • Program presentation
  • Lunch with current students
  • Campus tour
  • Participation in Team-Based Learning class

In-person interviews have been suspended for 2020-21. Interviews will instead be conducted virtually.

Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination and Campus Safety

Penn State College of Medicine is an equal-opportunity employer and accepts all qualified applications regardless of their gender, ethnic origin or religious background.

The College of Medicine is also committed to fostering an environment free from discrimination and harassment. Learn more about non-discrimination.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and Pennsylvania Act of 1988 require that crime statistics for Pennsylvania colleges and universities be made available to applicants upon request. Learn more about campus safety and security.

Contact Us

If you have questions about the PA Program, please contact us at 717-531-0003, ext. 285595, or PSUPAProgram@pennstatehealth.psu.edu.